Playtime! Wheaton Park District Partners with Kids around the Worldto Give Kids in Haiti a Playground
Cilella, Jessica, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Jessica Cilella Daily Herald Correspondent
The playground equipment that was in Wheaton Park District's Northside Park until June has found a new home in a new country.
The park district teamed up last year with Kids Around the World, an organization that installs play equipment for children living in places devastated by war, natural disasters or political tensions, to send the equipment to Haiti, where it will be reassembled in the coming months.
In three periods between now and March, volunteers in Haiti will install the Northside Park playground and equipment from 38 others from across the United States. The volunteers include helpers from Compassion International, a Christian child advocacy ministry.
Wheaton's playground was divided into four units that will be placed outside four different churches in the Caribbean nation's capital, Port-au-Prince.
Diana Hamachek, playground assistant for Kids Around the World, said the organization, which was established in 1994, finds its efforts help both the people donating the equipment and those living in the more than 20 countries they serve.
"It's a win-win situation for everyone, not only for the environment, but for the children around the world who aren't able to afford a new playground that is manufactured here in the U.S. or a different country," she said. "It's giving them an outlet to be a child."
Steve Hinchee, Wheaton Park District's planner, said the district has been interested in doing something like this in the past because its policy is to replace old playgrounds around every 17 years.
But officials didn't feel comfortable doing it until they discovered Kids Around the World.
"Because of liability, you don't want to just take your playground apart and just give it to anyone because it really needs to be evaluated, and that's what this organization does," he said. …